Anti-gun rights activists like to portray those of us who believe in the Second Amendment, and our fundamental right to bear arms, as heartless, selfish, uneducated people, or perhaps even worse. They say that we are bought and paid for by gun lobby groups. Politicians and anti-gun activists have called us “paranoid gun clingers” and have said that we have blood on our hands. How can we, they say, in the face of school shootings and violence in the streets, continue to believe that the Constitution should be left intact? How can we stand against “common sense” gun regulations? They rail against us like we are the enemy. They act as if we, and our beliefs, must be expunged from modern society. Many view the Second Amendment and its supporters like diseases such as smallpox and polio that were eradicated from our country by modern medicine. Because of this, they work to target gun owners, pro-Second Amendment advocates, and our worldview for increasingly restrictive laws and ostracism, with the goal of eventual extinction. There is no place, we are told, in modern, progressive society, for the archaic beliefs and values that the Second Amendment represents.
Vilified in the mainstream media and on social media, in our communities, and sometimes in person, we have too often found ourselves on the defensive, having to justify our exercise and support of the Second Amendment. That the right to bear arms is as fundamentally sewn into the fabric of America’s history and culture as the First Amendment’s right to free speech is now too often ignored. What once was simply a fact of everyday life: law-abiding citizens going about their lives, hunting, sport shooting, defending themselves, simply being gun owners, has become something that is often looked down upon, made fun of, and disdained.
Who are we, in reality though? Who are Second Amendment supporters and advocates? Who are the millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in the United States who refuse to be swayed by emotion and the panicked group-think that calls for rapid and drastic infringement of our rights? And why is it that we fight so ardently to protect the Constitution and the Second Amendment? Why is it that we are not willing to compromise our freedoms, which to many people nowadays seem abstract and arbitrary, in order to assuage public fear?
Our identity reaches back to the very beginning of our great country. While much has changed in our society since those days, one constant has remained throughout the passage of time: that the people’s freedom, the people’s rights, and the people’s rule, must be protected at all costs. The freedoms that the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Second Amendment have protected have been passed down like a beacon, from generation to generation, as a guiding light. We look to these brilliant documents to remind us of what is fundamentally important, even in the darkest and cloudiest of times.
From the early days of the American Colonies, even while we were still under British rule, American gun owners came from all walks of life. Landowners, laborers, farmers tradesmen, hunters, trappers, frontiersmen, rich and poor, Americans used firearms as one of many tools in their everyday life and viewed them as an absolute necessity to provide food for their families, to protect themselves and their families from violence, and to maintain order and for civil defense.
Later, when the rule of the British Monarchy became increasingly oppressive and overreaching, including attempting to seize firearms that were so vital to the Colonists, it was these same citizens who took up arms to fight for the cause of liberty. Inspired by a group of brilliant men who spoke of new and intriguing ideas, these citizens chose to stand up and resist. The Founding Fathers who led these ordinary citizens to stand up to the most powerful military in the world spoke of things like the inalienable rights of man, and the concept that government’s role was to serve the people, not be an instrument to impose control on the people.
These Founders synthesized the best of Greek and Roman democratic tradition, the rationality and critical thinking of the Age of Enlightenment, and the tradition of Judeo Christian based beliefs in the innate value of humanity and an individual’s God-given rights, into one awe-inspiring vision. This vision, this dream, which they fought so ardently for, was for a people who were free to pursue their individual destinies, to reap the rewards of hard work, to build a better future for themselves and their families, and to stand firm in the knowledge that their liberty and freedom were protected by a new sort of covenant, not between God and Man, but between the people and their elected leaders.
This covenant, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights granted certain rights to the newly formed government, instead of to the people. Instead of gifts meted out by a gracious king or governor, the people’s rights were given by their Creator. It was the government that was granted certain well defined and limited rights in service of the people. All at once, as had never happened before, the world’s view of the role of government and individual rights was flipped. What had once been known as The New World had now evolved into a new reality.
Who are we then, today, who stand up in defense of our Constitution and Bill of Rights? We are simply those same people who fought for those same rights almost 250 years ago. We are both the beneficiaries and protectors of the rights codified by our Founders. Just like the Colonists who recognized the brilliance and purpose of our Founder’s vision of America, so now, too, do we. We understand that the Constitution is now, and has always been, the anchor to our freedom, to our very existence as a nation.
In times like these, when a political storm rages, when people’s vision and understanding of why the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, is at it’s cloudiest, we must hold on to it even tighter. Our greatest danger would be to cast it off and drift in the tide of political and societal unrest. The Founders meant the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment, to carry us through times such as these.
Second Amendment supporters are ordinary people. We have different occupations and backgrounds, we are rich and we are poor, we come from all walks of life. We are citizens who go about our daily lives and want only to pursue our dreams and to work hard toward a better future for ourselves and our children. We are the People, just as we have always been. While today we face new and dangerous challenges to our rights in a far different world than our forbearers faced, we fight now for the same liberties. We will not stand by and watch our Constitution be dismantled.
Years ago, we stood up against the most powerful military the world had ever seen and fought for our rights. Today, we will not back down from the fight to preserve these hard-won freedoms. Join us today to fight to protect our Constitution. Advocate, speak up, encourage others to join the Religion of Arms and Liberty First Foundation. We are all in this together. We are The People, and we are coming for unconstitutional laws!